Posted on October 19th, 2014 No comments
Wow! It’s been busy! Last week we had 18 registered for the Intro to Square Dance in Devon. Of those, 15 came (we heard from the other three, who unfortunately couldn’t make it). Of that 15, I think 12 have signed up for lessons. Check out the Meetup page or my Schedule for more information about the lessons.
Then today, another new caller, Alan Ellis, and I took part in a Callers Without Clubs dance at SEESA from 1:00 to 4:00. It was a good dance and a good practice that gave me a better awareness of my strengths and weaknesses and what I need to work on to improve.
Posted on September 27th, 2014 No comments
I added an event on Facebook. First time!
Took me a while to find it on my page. I’ll make it easy: Go HERE
Posted on September 17th, 2014 No comments
Had the opportunity to try two of Lay’s new Canadian potato chip flavors.
First up: Bacon Poutine. On opening the bag, I did note a scent of bacon. The chips do taste a bit like bacon, a bit like gravy. Couldn’t get any sense of cheese. They were okay, not as good as BBQ by any means. Perhaps that’s because I found the flavours quite subtle, without the tang or bite of BBQ. My wife ate a couple but didn’t want more. Neither did I, really, but we’d paid for the bag, so I washed them down with rum & cola. They weren’t all that bad, just sort of “Meh!”.
Next in line: Cinnamon Bun. We both had left these sitting on the counter for a couple of days. Neither of us really wanted to open them. When do you eat cinnamon buns? For breakfast, or maybe a coffee time snack. We couldn’t quite manage the idea of having potato chips for breakfast, so finally we opened them with an afternoon coffee. Okay, they smell of cinnamon. So far, so good. Wife ate one, refused the rest. I had two and didn’t want any more. We wound up throwing the rest away. Gotta be the worst flavor imaginable for potato chips. Ick. I can’t believe that anybody would vote for these. De gustibus non est disputandum, I guess.
After this inauspicious beginning, do we dare try the other two (jalapeno mac ‘n’ cheese and tzatziki)?
Posted on September 14th, 2014 No comments
Saturday night we called a hoedown for CANYA, Classis Alberta North Young Adults, at a facility south of Spruce Grove.
This was a repeat engagement, and again a lively bunch wth about four squares (32 people) dancing on an outdoor patio.
About a third were there last year, and requested moves from that night. I called the ABC Basics program, again meaning to move into the A moves, but wound up doing some old-time dances including Pattycake Polka, Rip & Snort, and No-Name Contra, all of which were immensely popular.
It was a cool night. The dancers stayed warm because I kept them moving (and they’re hot-blooded anyway), but by the end of the night I was wearing a hoodie, a jean jacket, and a vest, and trading hands between holding the mike and warming up in a pocket.
Several came up to thank us afterwards and say they enjoyed the dance and the variety compared to last year. Several took brochures and business cards and said they would see about having a dance in their home church (CAN is a division of the Christian Reformed Church).
Future gigs would be nice, but watching the folks laughing and having fun sure makes it fun for us.
Posted on September 6th, 2014 No comments
Got an email recently from the Bonnie Doon Stake, as a follow up to Trek.I was at the Hoe down you did for the Mormon church out near Cold Lake last month and I’m in charge of activities for the Bonnie Doon Stake. We were wondering if you are available to come and do another Hoe Down for us on either October 24 or 25. We will be holding this Hoe Down at our Bonnie Doon location…. Are you able to be our caller?Apparently there will be up to 300 people. The event has been booked for Oct. 25 and is on my calling calendar.Repeat business is a terrific compliment.
Posted on August 21st, 2014 No comments
Recently bought a smart phone. Loving it, should have got one years ago!
It’s with Rogers, which has a customer loyalty program that offers points for their monthly contract and other things. Today I got an email from Rogers offering three rewards for under 1000 points: movies, a monthly TV theme pack, and long-distance phone minutes.
Since our contract has unlimited long-distance in Canada, that last one isn’t of great value. As for the other rewards, thanks but no thanks. They’re clearly oriented to couch potatoes, sluggards, stay-at-homes, and the obese-to-be. A one-month TV pack, oh my fat butt!
I look forward to receiving rewards for the active and energetic. How about a pass to a local fitness center, coupons for active wear, discounts at a bike shop.
Posted on August 12th, 2014 No comments
Today I took my truck in to Leduc Chrysler, 6102-46A Street, for an oil change and their 15-point “Peace of Mind Inspection”
Invoice 158364 reads “1D Lube, oil and filter change, checked and topped up all fluids, checked and adjusted tire pressures [my emphasis] and performed a 15 point visual inspection.”
Noting that the tire pressure was not on the inspection form, I suggested to the service advisor on duty, Chuck, that I’d appreciate it if he would confirm the tire pressures, as one had been low. He had me drive into the service reception bay and found one tire at 45 psi and three at 60 psi. A check of the door sticker showed they should be Front 50 psi and Rear 40 psi for light loads or Front 60 and Rear 70 for heavy loads.
It was pretty obvious that the pressures had not been “checked and adjusted”. (A second issue was that the passenger side windshield wiper is torn. I had been planning to replace it, but thought I’d just leave it to see if it turned up on the inspection. It didn’t.)
Chuck did all the right things — fixed the tire pressures, admitted the error, apologized on behalf of the company, said he would raise the matter with the tech and service manager, and did the best he could to make things right by waiving the cost of the “Peace of Mind” inspection.
But there is NO peace of mind in this case. I have absolutely no confidence that anything was inspected; how do I know that the tech didn’t just blithely run down the list checking everything? For that matter, how do I know that the oil and filter were actually changed?
Obviously, this will cost Leduc Chrysler a customer. And if you’re in Leduc and reading this post, you might consider going somewhere else too.
By the way, Chuck kept the POM inspection form, and I didn’t receive a copy of it stapled to my invoice. I think that’s odd too. I wonder if it will somehow miraculously change to show the tire pressures. Peace of mind, indeed.
Posted on August 10th, 2014 No comments
Got to call a street dance at the Summer Oldstice on June 21, sponsored by Uptowne Olds. It was windy and cold at first, but the day warmed up and it turned out to be a great day for an outdoor dance.
Through some mixup, the “angels” (experienced square dancers and volunteers) we expected weren’t present, but we went ahead anyway. Different people came to dance at different times during the hour, and we had some older folks, a bunch of pre-teen girls, some teen girls. Overall, I think about 40 different people took part, which I think is pretty good.
The highlight for me was when a group of special-needs folks were watching and I invited them to dance. So we had a square with three wheel chairs and a few others from the group. It was wonderful to see how much they enjoyed the dancing, laughing and waving their hands.
<IMG: An Oldstice-Fashion Square Dance Olds Albertan Tuesday Jun 24 2014 page 1>
PS We later ran into someone from the Olds Calico Capers square dance club, and apparently they hadn’t even heard about the event until they read about it in the local paper. We’ve discussed the issue with the organizer and hope to be back next year with a stronger program.
Posted on July 20th, 2014 2 comments
Had a great time calling at Trek 2014 out east of Cherry Grove, AB.
The trek — a simulated re-enactment of the Mormon hand-cart migrations to Utah in the mid 1850s — saw an estimated 190 youth and 50 adults in an approximation of period clothing building hand-cart kits, loading up their sleeping bags and gear, and hauling them some 25 km over rough terrain.
We pulled the rig in on Thursday afternoon, in time to go and watch the group playing various “pioneer” games such as tug-of-war, cow-patty toss, log-sawing, and the like. Fun to watch, and despite having trekked some 15 km the day before, up and down hills and through swamps, the kids seemed to have a lot of energy.
The hoe-down was Thursday night, about mid-way into their trek. Not sure if all the participants danced, but they sure spread out in the field. I had chosen dances and music of the period to add to the authenticity of the experience. I called some old-time circle dances, a contra, and a reel, which saw enthusiastic and lively participation.
I was just starting Cumberland Squares, with plans to move into some old-time square dances, when a group of masked horsemen (“mobbers”) broke up the dance and drove the campers off the land–something that also happened in the historical migration. One dancer complained, “But we’re having a hoe-down!” No matter — clear out!
The group was packed up and moving fast within a surprisingly short time. Although I had not been directed by the mobbers to clear out, with the dancers gone there was no point to my staying; I packed up and left too.
In preparing for the dance, I learned a lot about the trek migrations, the early history of the Mormon church, and about songs and dances of the 1800s. And calling for all those folks in an open field was a unique experience!
A big thank you to all those who helped with setting up equipment and dance formations; thanks especially to the Bonnie Doon Stake for organizing the Trek and for hiring me to call the hoedown.
Followup: Trek II, the Hoedown Continues
Posted on June 28th, 2014 No comments
MONTAGUE FULL-SIZE FOLDING BIKE
Last winter, at an estate sale in California, I found a bike with an interesting-looking frame labeled “BMW Wireline”. It was a full-sized bike, but was obviously designed to fold. It had no tires, the handgrips were melted, the wheels wouldn’t turn, the rear derailleur was bent, the headset was frozen, the brake pads were like rock, the chain was rusted in place. Still, it had a CrMo folding frame in good condition, alloy wheels, decent quality caliper brakes.
The owner had no idea of the provenance except that it had been in his sister’s garage for decades and he wanted to get rid of it.
“Make me an offer,” he said. I offered $1. He accepted. I threw some breadbags over the tar-like handgrips and stowed it under the RV.
When we returned in the spring, I hauled the bike home and set to work. The California heat had been hard on the bike. I scraped the melted hand grips off (a sticky, icky job!) and removed the distorted pedals. Every bit of grease was hardened to resin, so I had to soak, clean, and re-grease the bottom bracket, both wheel hubs, and the headset. None of the cups showed wear, and I reused all the ball bearings. I replaced the rear derailleur, grip shifters, hand grips, and chain; replaced a couple cables; put on new tubes, tires and brake pads; and tuned everything up. Oh, I also added new Globe round rubber pedals, because I thought they looked interesting and because they snag on things a lot less than the old square platforms.
This amounts to a frame-up rebuild. It was the most money and most work I’ve put into a rescue bike. Still, the outcome was an unusual bike that’s fun to use and ride.
The frame had a sticker showing the manufacturer as Montague, which was easy to research. Around 1988, the Montague Corporation, of Cambridge, Mass., began producing full-sized folding bicycles with 26” or 700 mm wheels. In the early1990s, Montague began working with the automobile industry,designing bicycle models for various companies including BMW, General Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Subaru, Toyota, Honda and Peugeot. In 1996, Montague folding bikes gained international attention when the Montague BMW folder was chosen as the first ever official Olympic mountain bike for the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. “Two thousand of these bikes (painted red, white, and blue) were featured in the Games’ closing ceremonies. Olympic athletes and staff rode in formation on Montague bikes to make the image of the Olympic rings,” reports the Montague web site.